Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media. Once again, we are grateful to host you for yet another encounter, as our dear nation prepares for a crucial election, an election that will determine our collective destiny for the next four years. It goes without saying, that this election is unique and historic for many reasons – one being the fact that this election will be fought on the basis of the first-term record of the two leading contenders, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama on the one hand, who is riding confidently on the back of his impressive and unassailable record in government, and President Akufo-Addo on the other hand, who continues to live under the delusion that he will be second time lucky with lies, empty promises and grand deception.
Undoubtedly, one key issue that will inform the choice of Ghanaians is the subject of corruption. This is so because, Ghanaians have seen the true record of the two leading contenders in this election, relative to their commitment to fighting corruption.
In the 2016 general elections, President Akufo-Addo mounted a moral high ground of so-called incorruptibility, and projected angelic piety to the Ghanaian people on the subject of corruption, but today his true credentials on the corruption fight have been laid bare before the Ghanaian electorate. Today, no one is left with an aorta of doubt, that President Akufo-Addo has failed the integrity test.
President Akufo-Addo’s ‘incorruptibility’ tag is now a thing of ridicule, trampled upon with utter disdain by all fair-minded Ghanaians who have observed events unfold over the past four years. Indeed, he and his henchmen no longer entertain any discussion whatsoever on corruption.
Friends from the media, the days of mere rhetoric grounded on nothing are long gone, as we shall be comparing the anti-corruption credentials of the two leading contenders in this elections in order to establish who amongst them is truly committed to the fight against corruption.
Research has shown that top of the essential ingredients in the fight against corruption is the political will to prosecute corrupt government officials. Of course, there are other relevant requirements such as clear values backed by relevant legislation, strong institutions and national anti-corruption strategy among others, but political will remains the single most important sine quo non in the fight against corruption, without which any such fight will be an exercise in futility.
TOP TEN (10) CORRUPTION SCANDALS OF THE AKUFO-ADDO GOVERNMENT THAT GHANAIANS MUST NOT FORGET ON 7TH DECEMBER, 2020.
Distinguished friends, having stated the critical importance of political will in the fight against corruption, we shall now proceed to examine top ten corruption scandals that we have witnessed under the Akufo-Addo government and how same was resolved. We shall then juxtapose Akufo Addo’s handling of corruption with how the erstwhile Mahama/NDC regime, dealt with acts of alleged corruption during his tenure as President. This, we believe will put to rest, the debate as to who truly fought corruption and displayed the genuine political will to the fight.
THE PDS SCANDAL
Ladies and gentlemen, one of the standout corruption scandals that broke out under this Akufo-Addo government is the PDS corruption scandal. Ghanaians will recall how sometime last year, Ghana lost about US$2 billion, comprising of US$190 million under the Power Compact, and another US$500 million under the Regional Compact, among others.
Ghanaians must not forget how President Akufo-Addo, through the Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, and ably supported by Dr. Bawumia, and the President’s cousin and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta schemed to handover the over GH¢20 billion assets of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to their cronies, including the owner of a barbering saloon, who had absolutely no expertise or financial capacity to handle the affairs of ECG.
Under the guise of private sector participation, President Akufo Addo gifted 51% of the GHc20 billion assets of ECG to a dubious and hurriedly incorporated vehicle called PDS. Ghanaians were later to be told by John Peter Amewu, the Energy Minister, that even the Insurance Guarantee so presented by the PDS partners for the takeover of ECG was a fraudulent one.
The events that have followed this scandal since it broke, leaves much to be desired of, as no action has been taken against the perpetrators of this fraud. The over 1 billion cedis that these PDS crooks collected from Electricity Consumers in the country haven’t been accounted for. Neither has President Akufo-Addo taken any action against his errant appointees who supervised this huge financial loss.
THE BOST CONTAMINATED FUEL SCANDAL
Friends from the media, Ghanaians will recall this huge scandal which broke out in the early days of the Akufo-Addo government in 2017, in which five (5) million litres of fuel worth billions of cedis. was deliberately contaminated under the watch of President Akufo-Addo and sold to two phony and unlicensed entities – Zup Oil and Movempina, in flagrant disregard of the Public Procurement Law and the NPA Act.
Indeed, a committee formed to investigate this transaction established conclusively, that the transaction was criminal and that, the proceeds of same should be recovered back to the state coffers. Yet, till date, not a pesewa of this illegal transaction has been paid into the state coffers, while the culprits of this transaction are still walking freely and enjoying their loot.
The worse of it is that, Mr. Alfred Obeng, the then Managing Director of BOST and the chief architect of this transaction, is aspiring to be a Member of Parliament on the ticket of the NPP, President Akufo-Addo’s party. This is how depraved and numb that President Akufo-Addo has become towards the corrupt activities of his appointees.
THE GALAMSEY FRAUD & 500 MISSING EXCAVATORS SCANDAL
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, other scandals of the Akufo-Addo government which are still fresh in the minds of Ghanaians are the twin scandals of the “Galamsey Fraud” expose’ by Ace Investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and the 500 missing excavators. These two scandals amplify the monumental failure of President Akufo-Addo’s fight against illegal mining, and further expose the underbelly of stinking corruption by NPP officials all in the name of fighting illegal mining. It would be recalled, that these 500 excavators, arms, gold and other items were seized by the Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Illegal Mining, following President Akufo-Addo’s call for the nation to rally around his fight against illegal mining soon after assuming office in 2017. The President even went to the extent of telling Ghanaians that he was willing to forfeit his Presidency just to win the war against illegal mining.
Ladies and gentlemen, these 500 excavators which were supposedly to be kept as evidence to prosecute illegal miners who were arrested by the taskforce, were rather shared among New Patriotic Party functionaries, who in turn used them to hijack the illegal mining trade and caused even worse damage to the environment. Some of these excavators were found at construction sites as far as parts of Northern Ghana, while pickup vehicles which were seized were donated to NPP party executives and Parliamentary candidates, some of which have been branded for their ongoing political campaigns.
These corrupt activities were further highlighted in the Galamsey Fraud investigation by Ace Investigative Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. This investigative masterpiece uncovered the criminal activities of appointees of the Akufo-Addo government such as Charles Bissue, a Presidential Staffer and Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial taskforce and Andy Owusu, Special Aide to Chairman Wontumi, NPP Ashanti Regional Chairman, who were caught on tape taking bribes to facilitate Galamsey activities by foreigners.
We also recall how a member of the Inter-Ministerial Task-force, Ekow Awusi, Central Regional Vice Chairman of the NPP, was caught on the infamous “party hia sika” tape, which captures a discussion between him and the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Prof. Frimpong Boateng, on how to exploit the fight against illegal mining to generate funds for the New Patriotic Party, hence the need to share these excavators and other seized items among NPP party functionaries.
In the light of these events, a petition was sent to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for investigations but even before this petition was acted upon by the OSP, these errant appointees were dubiously cleared by the Chief Corruption Clearing Agent, President Akufo-Addo. As we speak, no meaningful investigations have been carried out into these jaw-dropping allegations, whilst Ekow Awusi who was suspended as Central Regional Vice Chair of the NPP and his auctioneer license taken from him, has been reinstated by his party, the NPP, while his auctioneer license has been reinstated. Also as we speak, Charles Bissue still remains a Presidential Staffer and continues to draw salaries from the public purse, despite the fact that he betrayed his fiduciary duty to the country right under the nose of the President. This is yet a clearest indication of how President Akufo-Addo lacks the political will to fight corruption.
We all witnessed the chaotic manner in which this charade was carried out, when NPP party functionaries hijacked the process, fed people with substandard food and pocketed millions of Cedis for the three (3) weeks that this program lasted. Till date, the Minister for Gender and Social Protection has not been able to account for the millions of Cedis that were allocated for this program, and as it has been his stock in trade, President Akufo-Addo has exonerated those who misappropriated those funds. The Auditor-General who was reported to have requested for files on this fraudulent relief food distribution program was callously hounded out of office by President Akufo-Addo to cover-up malfeasance such as this one and corruption scandals.
It would be recalled how President Akufo-Addo went globe-trotting on a rented private jet at a cost of $17,000 per hour, including going to watch the 2019 Champions League final match between Tottenham Hotspurs and Liverpool Football Club in faraway Spain. This ostentatious and wasteful lifestyle of the President was financed by the scare resources of state which could have been channeled into meeting the many needs of the Ghanaian people.
Aside the fact that, the Akufo-Addo government continued to pay Mr. AB his full salaries even when he was on suspension, President Akufo Addo has refused to retrieve from Mr. A.B Adjei the billions of Ghana Cedis that the latter has stolen, and to prosecute him for the serious crimes he has committed against the state. According to the OSP’s investigative report on this matter, Mr. A.B Adjei through his corrupt activities amassed so much wealth such that his total bank account balance which stood at about GHc45,000 as at January 2017 when the NPP took office, rose astronomically to about GHc45 million in only 3 years. Yet this man, a very corrupt personality who should be standing prosecution for his crimes against the state by now, has been left off the hook by the Chief Corruption Clearing Agent, President Akufo Addo. Having been indicted by both CHRAJ and the Special Prosecutor, what more evidence does President Akufo-Addo need to prosecute this man for his crimes?
The Special Prosecutor through his painstaking corruption and anti-corruption risk Assessment into the deal has confirmed what we in the NDC have known and maintained all along, that the Agyapa deal is fraught with illegalities, corruption, bid rigging, greed, cronyism and potential money laundering. We are all equally aware of how President Akufo-Addo and his cousin the finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta attempted to influence the work of the Special Prosecutor, leading to his resignation and subsequent threats on his life.
However, as we speak, President Akufo-Addo is yet to retrieve for the state, the over $4 million, equivalent to GH¢240 billion old Ghana Cedis he illegally paid to Databank, which is owned by his cousin and finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta and Africa Legal Associates, a law firm belonging to another cousin of President Akufo-Addo, Gabby Otchere-Darko, under the dubious deal.
The fact of the matter is that President Akufo-Addo is the chief beneficiary and patron of the unprecedented levels of corruption we are witnessing today. As we often say, he is the biggest promoter and enabler of corruption in his government. He is himself corrupt, as evident by the highly-inflated Ameri-Novation deal he personally approved. His quest to build his family’s legacy and financial war chest supersedes his desire to develop Ghana. That is why we call him a family builder and not a nation-builder.
Rather than being a fighter of corruption, President Akufo Addo has become a fighter of corruption fighters. Today, every critical voice of dissent that dares to talk about the unprecedented corruption under this government has been suppressed. The removal of the Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Yao Domelovo for his relentless fight against corruption, the harassment of investigative journalists such as Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Manasseh Azure Awuni, Edward Adeti and other anti-corruption campaigners, and the sad and gruesome murder of Ahmed Suale of Tigre Eye PI fame, cast the most undesirable record of any democratically-elected President who is so determined to dim the torch of accountability. Never in the history of this country have we witnessed this level of terror and cruelty being unleashed on anti-corruption crusaders who deserve to be honored and celebrated for their good works.
Ghanaians still recall that in the wake of investigations by Manasseh Azure Awuni, which unearthed corruption in the operations of the Ghana Youth Entrepreneurial Development Authority (GYEEDA), President Mahama directed the then Attorney-General to prosecute the culprits. In line with this directive, the state successfully prosecuted and sentenced two persons, Hon. Abuga Pele who was the National Coordinator of GYEEDA and an NDC Member of Parliament, and Mr. Philip Akpeena Assibit, a businessman to a total of 18 years in prison for causing financial loss to the state. It is very important to remind Ghanaians, that these two personalities were jailed for misappropriating GH¢4.1 million.
We also remind Ghanaians of the Smarttys Bus Branding scandal during the erstwhile Mahama/NDC regime, and how President Mahama pursued this matter to its logical conclusion. Smarttys Management and Production Limited was made to pay in full every penny in respect of moneys overpaid for the branding and respraying of 116 intra-city buses.
Such was President Mahama’s abhorrence for corruption, that when a Deputy Minister of Communications, Victoria Hammah was caught on tape allegedly saying she will quit politics when she makes $1million, she was immediately dismissed by President Mahama. Same level of intolerance to corrupt behaviour cannot be said of President Akufo-Addo who has become so numb to corruption.
One of such vote-buying moves is the payment of double salaries to Security Personnel in the month of November. We are reliably informed that our men in uniform, have been paid double salaries and other incentives in the month of November in what is a desperate, belated attempt by President Akufo-Addo to buy votes. We trust our men and women in uniform not to fall for this vote-buying gimmick of President Akufo-Addo, which is an insult to their intelligence.
We wish to remind all the men and women in our security agencies that President Akufo-Addo has no good plans for them, except his desire to get their votes just to stay in power for another four years. To members of the Ghana Police Service in particular, we urge you not to forget that this same President Akufo-Addo has already began processes to cancel your CAP 30 pensions scheme, thereby making you poorer in retirement. Remember that President Akufo-Addo has not given up his intention to cancel CAP 30, as you cast your ballot on December 1st and vote for John Mahama who genuinely cares about your welfare.
Similarly, we are aware of attempts to buy the votes of NABCO beneficiaries by President Akufo-Addo and his government, through a fake portal they have created for NABCO personnel to register for so-called permanent jobs. We are equally aware that the recent aptitude test announced by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was a scam, as only 50 of the several thousands of NABCO beneficiaries placed with the GRA were given PIN codes to access the online test, thereby denying thousands a chance to take part in the online test. This is all part of the deceptive gimmicks of President Akufo-Addo who is only interested in votes and not the interest of these young people.
We wish to state for the records that the money being distributed to market women was taken from the Stabilization Fund which President Mahama and the NDC created. We therefore urge our mothers and sisters in the markets to accept these monies when they come, and vote massively for President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC to come and implement our progress policies for the Ghanaian people. As President Mahama himself has said, he won’t take these monies back, but will rather ensure that those who haven’t benefited get cheaper credit for their businesses.
Dishonest Akufo-Addo is at his tricks again. We appeal to Ghanaians to reject his vote buying gimmicks and vote in John Mahama for jobs, development, leadership of truth and integrity and prosperity for all.